Feature

South Korea: Dying from back-alley plastic surgery

An obsession with plastic surgery is killing us Koreans.

Editorial
Chosun Ilbo

An obsession with plastic surgery is killing us Koreans, said the Chosun Ilbo. “There is probably no other country where plastic surgeons place ads on the sides of buses,” with before and after pictures tempting people to widen their eyes or narrow their noses. Too often, the real “after” photo would depict a coffin. Just last week, another young woman died after corrective jaw surgery performed at an outpatient clinic. The “extremely difficult” procedure, originally developed to remedy congenital defects but now used to create a heart-shaped face, requires surgeons to drill away the jawbone while avoiding sensitive nerves and muscles. It has become the latest craze in Seoul, a city where one in five women has had at least one plastic surgery, and now we’re seeing “a surge in complaints about gruesome side effects.” Most of the clinics lack basic equipment such as respirators or defibrillators, and many use “visiting anesthesiologists” who leave the building before the patient even comes to. Health-care officials need to impose “much tougher regulations on dangerous cosmetic procedures.” Korea already has the dubious honor of leading the world in cosmetic surgeries per capita. We don’t want to become the leader in cosmetic surgery fatalities.

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